Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Son Archie Has Only Met His Royal Cousins 'a Handful of Times'

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Looks like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 8-month-old son, Archie, isn't exactly close to his cousins.

Amid ongoing reports of tension between 35-year-old Harry and his older brother, 37-year-old Prince William, British tabloids claim that Archie has only met his cousins -- 6-year-old Prince George, 4-year-old Princess Charlotte and 1-year-old Prince Louis -- twice. ET spoke with royal expert Katie Nicholl on Thursday, and she said that Will's wife, 38-year-old Kate Middleton, has tried to be a "peacemaker" when it comes to any tension between the two families.

"Well, look, we know there have clearly been a lot of family tensions, rifts, fallouts behind the scenes," Nicholl says. "I think throughout all of this, Kate has tried very much to be the peacemaker. Remember that she and Harry were at one point incredibly close. She, Harry, and William were a very special trio and I think she's very keen to try and see that rift closed up. And at some point down the future, there will be a closeness between the four of them, if not for themselves, for the royal cousins because it's emerged that ... the Cambridge children have actually only met Archie a handful of times. I suppose that's down to the Sussexes being in Windsor, the Cambridges being in London."

Chances for the cousins to spend more time together don't appear to be in the cards anytime soon, given Harry and 38-year-old Meghan's announcement that they plan to spend more time in North America as they step away from being senior members of the royal family and work to become financially independent.

"But of course with the Sussexes now spending a good chunk of the year overseas, you know, you have to wonder, how close is that relationship going to be between the royal cousins?" Nicholl muses. "Harry grew up very close to his cousins. It was always his intention for his children to be close to William's children. And I think everyone's hoping that they can move on from this difficult period, put the warring behind them and actually allow for the royal cousins when they are together at least in the same country, to actually get to spend some quality time together."

Of course, Harry has recently been spending time away from his own family as he takes meetings in London while Meghan and Archie remain in Canada. Nicholl says it's the longest time that he and Meghan have been apart since Archie was born last May.

"It'll be coming up to 10 days, so I would imagine that once these meetings are out of the way -- and they're obviously important because he's staying behind for them -- he's going to be desperate to get on that plane for Vancouver," she says. "I think all we know is [the meetings] are clearly important, they are in his diary, he's planning to stick around in the U.K. until he's cleared those engagements and then he would be jumping on that plane to Vancouver to be reunited with Meghan and Harry and he's probably desperate to get back to them."

"This is the longest period he's spent away from his family and certainly the longest period he's spent away from Meghan since Archie was born," she adds.

Meanwhile, the last time Archie was photographed with his cousins was last July, when Meghan, Kate and all their children attended a charity polo match that both Harry and Will participated in. At the time, Nicholl noted that the group outing was a surprise.

"We hadn't expected the duchesses to turn up with their children," she said. "The fact that they did is a wonderful treat for royal watchers, but I think those candid pictures were quite deliberately intended to snuff out those rumors of the feud between the foursome. And you saw them all very close, very happy, very comfortable with each other."

Of course, with Harry and Meghan's bombshell announcement earlier this month, a source recently told ET that tensions between Harry and Will have flared up again.

"William is understandably frustrated by his brother's decision,”" the source said, adding that some other members of the royal family have called the move "selfish."

ET also spoke with Nicholl shortly after Harry and Meghan's announcement was made and she commented on Will's reaction.

"I'm told privately that William is absolutely devastated and quite shocked by this decision for Harry to step down from the royal family," Nicholl said. "I think William feels a sense of betrayal by his brother and possibly a sense of being abandoned too. While Meghan and Harry weren't the top tier of royals -- and by that I mean they are not a future king and queen -- you know, their importance in the royal family is to not be underestimated. They are hugely valuable."

Still, Harry and Will did release a joint statement on Monday to fight back against a report about their relationship amid the royal shakeup.

"Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a U.K. newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge," spokespeople for Will and Harry said in the statement. "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

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